Mounting evidence, including DNA tests the State had fought for more than a decade, strongly supports his claim of innocence. Yet Skinner came within 45 minutes of execution in 2010 and almost died three times this year due to an often-fatal illness.
Hank Skinner is in the final round of a fight against two heavyweights. One is the Texas lawmen who want him executed. The other is an often-fatal ailment that saps his strength and leaves him in constant pain. The odds makers give him little chance. Death, after all, is undefeated.
In 1999, a French journalist made a bold prediction to me. "Your country will abolish capital punishment in the next 25 years." I thought of our conversation on Friday when I learned that Maryland will ban capital punishment.
In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, many are wondering where our mental health system has gone awry. The state of Texas's desire to kill Andre Thomas shows that we are a long way from where we need to be.
He is an unlikely watchdog over the criminal justice system, a 64-year-old former aerospace engineer from Southern California with no formal legal training. Yet his blog, The Skeptical Juror, has rapidly become a must-read.
At bottom, the primary cause for false convictions is the questionable quality of the evidence habitually used in criminal prosecutions. Poor evidence can be produced even when all actors follow procedures diligently and conscientiously.